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Warriors Eclipse the Century Mark, Never Trail in Road Win


By Sterling College Athletics


Ottawa, Kan. – Sterling never trailed in a great road win over Ottawa University. When Sterling played their best, it looked like they were unstoppable, at other times, however, they caused a little worry. In the end, the Warriors fought through some adversity to bring home a 102-89 victory over the Braves.

It was a back-and-forth battle early on as the two teams traded baskets early before either team was able to make a run. There was a point with just over twelve minutes to play in the first half that Sterling decided they were going to step it up, and it proved to be the difference in the ball game.

With 12:30 left in the first half, the score was 16-15 in favor of the Warriors. Sterling went on a 10-1 run over the next two minutes to open up a 10 point lead. It was a welcomed run as it allowed Sterling to take a breath for just a moment. After back to back baskets by Ottawa that cut the lead to 5, Sterling put together another run to extend their lead. This time it was a 17-0 run that opened up a 22 point lead late in the first half. Ottawa broke up the run with a pair of free throws, but Sterling didn’t let up. They went for another 7-1 run. As Sterling kept their foot on the gas pedal, the Warrior run was 34-8 and opened up a 27 point lead, their largest of the game, at 50-23. Ottawa closed out the half on a 21-9 run that cut the Warrior lead to 15 points at the break. Heading into the locker room, Sterling was in control with a 59-44 lead.

The second half was much more evenly matched. For most of the second half, Sterling held on to a thirteen to seventeen point lead. Sterling’s biggest lead of the second half was 22 points with just over seven minutes left to play in the half. Over the next five minutes, the Warriors took on Ottawa’s final big push to cut into the lead. In that five minute stretch, the Braves outscored the Warriors 22-9 cutting to Warrior lead to an uncomfortable 6 points. It was the first time the Sterling lead was less than 10 points since the nine minute mark in the first half. With 2 minutes left to play, Sterling hit 5-6 free throws down the stretch and knocked in a couple of jumpers to stretch the lead back to 13 to finish the game. Sterling’s offense passed the century mark for the first time in a couple of years.

It was a full box score of statistics for the Warrior offense. All five of Sterling’s starters scored in double figures. The Warriors were led by Elias Ngoga with 22, Lucas Briar with 22, 17 points each from Cedric Rollerson and Will Thigpen, and 12 points from Derrian Reed. Rollerson led the Warriors with 7 assists and 3 steals in the contest, his highest single game assist total this season. Reed added 6 assists of his own, tying his season high, and 7 rebounds. Thigpen grabbed 12 rebounds and 3 steals to go along with his 17 points, giving him another double-double on the season. Ngoga added 10 rebounds, also attaining double-double status.

As a team, Sterling shot 54% from the field, 53% from 3-point range, and 82% from the free throw line. Sterling dominated the boards, outrebounding Ottawa 49-27. Sterling won the points in the paint battle and second chance points at well. With these dominating performances, Sterling was able to overcome having more turnovers than the Braves.

With this win, Sterling has its first 10-win season since the 2015-16 season. The Warriors still have half of the conference season to play and currently find themselves in 5th place in the league. Sterling is now 10-7 this season and 6-5 in KCAC play.

The Warriors return to action Saturday afternoon at 5 pm in the Gleason Center in Sterling, Kan. The University of Saint Mary Spires come from Leavenworth for the only meeting between these two teams this season. Saint Mary is 5-11 overall and 1-9 in conference play.